Penalties may be announced today

Monday, December 18, 2006

NEW YORK -- It was late in the fourth quarter. The New York Knicks were losing badly. The Madison Square Garden crowd was cheering for the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony.

So by the time Denver's J.R. Smith went in on another fast break Saturday, the Knicks had had enough. Mardy Collins figured he'd put a stop to the fun with a hard foul. Instead, it was the start of a wild brawl.

The fight went from one end of the court to the other. Carmelo Anthony dropped Collins with a punch, Smith and Nate Robinson went flying into the stands while fighting, and six other players were ejected.

Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer, could be looking at a suspension of more than five games. The NBA was reviewing the incident and interviewing people involved Sunday. It could announce penalties today.

With Denver leading by 19 points with 1:15 to play when Collins prevented Smith from another easy basket by grabbing him by the neck and taking him to the floor. The brawl ensued.

Smith rose and immediately started jawing with Collins, and Robinson jumped in to pull Smith away. Anthony shoved Robinson away, and Robinson and Smith then tumbled into the front row while fighting.

Just as things appeared to be calming down, Anthony threw a hard punch that floored Collins, and New York's Jared Jeffries sprinted from the baseline toward halfcourt in an effort to get at Anthony, but was tackled by a Denver player.

By the time security had finally contained Smith, they were nearly at the opposite end of the court from where the altercation started.

-- AP

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